by Reggie Parrish
July 07, 2010
“It was a good day!”
This was the phrase several members of the Earth Conservation Corps used to describe the June 11 service learning day on the Chesapeake Bay. The Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) is a nonprofit youth development and environmental service organization located where the heavily polluted Anacostia River runs through Washington, D.C.’s most disadvantaged communities.
As a part of a partnership formed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), Corps members get to experience the Bay while learning about green jobs and careers.
As part of their service learning day, members aboard a NOAA vessel operated the drag net to collect blue crabs, mummichogs, flounders, anchovies and other species.
Along the shoreline of the Rhode River, Corps members did seine netting and compared the collected species to those collected from the vessel.
NOAA, SERC and EPA staff also discussed the types of habitats these species live in and highlighted the effects of upstream activities on the Bay and its aquatic life downstream.
This summer, Corps members will apply and interview for an internship program that includes more species sampling, identification and recording on the NOAA vessel, as well as participating in environmental outreach to kids who visit SERC.
Upon leaving SERC, Corps member Cory Palmer said, "That was all right!" Chesapeake Bay Program Acting Director Jim Edward, who also attended the service learning event, echoed Corey’s comment.
Other Corps members had similar positive things to say about the service learning day:
- Samuelle Buie: “Today was a good day because we caught some blue crabs and spot fish. We caught flounder and we took a boat on the Chesapeake Bay. I helped drop the fishnet.”
- Deron Barnes: “I had a good experience on the Chesapeake Bay.”
- Corey Palmer: “Today was a good day for me. I experienced the Chesapeake Bay up close and personal. I learned how to properly hold a live crab. All in all I had fun.”
- Steven Jackson: “My experience today out on the water with the SERC crew was very interesting. I learned a few things about the fish and other habitats and how they adapt to them. What I really enjoyed the most was being out on the water itself. All in all, I enjoyed the whole experience of catching the fish, identifying them and jotting down information. Even though we didn’t write down information we talked about it and I really enjoyed it.”